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Media Advisory:Newborn Deliveries Are Scheduled Too Early, According to Hospital Watchdog Group Leapfrog Announces Call to Action: Protect Mothers and Babies from Unnecessary Harm


Contact:
Missy Danforth, Director of Communications & Membership, The Leapfrog Group
202-292-6707 or mdanforth@leapfroggroup.org

Conference Call for Media on January 26th from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C. – The employer-driven hospital quality watchdog, The Leapfrog Group, announces a Call to Action in response to its new data finding that thousands of babies are electively scheduled for delivery too early, resulting in a higher likelihood of death, being admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and a higher likelihood of life-long health problems.

Despite the importance of this issue to women and babies, Leapfrog is the first national organization to make this information public by hospital. The findings from 773 hospitals in Leapfrog’s 2010 annual hospital survey reveal significant variation among hospitals in their rates of early elective cesarean sections and early elective inductions, with some hospitals having ten times the rate of others.

Experts, including those from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Childbirth Connections, and the March of Dimes, caution that the amount of time a baby needs to develop fully, which includes having a fully formed brain and organs, is at least 39 completed weeks. Sometimes there is a medical reason to schedule a newborn delivery before the 39th week. However, Leapfrog finds that newborns were being “electively” scheduled for delivery before the 39th week, meaning without a medical reason, at alarming rates.

On January 26, 2011 The Leapfrog Group will release the elective delivery rates of 773 hospitals and announce a series of initiatives to deter and prevent this harmful practice. Others involved in this call to action include Childbirth Connections, the March of Dimes, Aetna, CIGNA, WellPoint, UnitedHealthcare, and Leapfrog’s purchaser members. This information has immediate implications for hospitals, health care providers, health plans, employers, policy makers, and most importantly patients.

Members of the media are invited to a conference call on January 26, 2011 at 12 noon Eastern Time hosted by:
• Leah Binder, CEO, The Leapfrog Group
• Dr. Barbara Rudolph, Senior Science Director, The Leapfrog Group
• Maureen Corry, Executive Director, Childbirth Connection
• Alan R. Fleischman, Senior Vice President and Medical Director, March of Dimes

The conference call number is: (866) 261-3331

Please contact Missy Danforth to obtain an embargoed copy of the announcement at
mdanforth@leapfroggroup.org

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